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Remove the mask: Quebec becomes the last province to lift the health order for COVID-19 camouflage – Montreal

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Quebec was the first province in Canada to impose a mask mandate after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and on Saturday, it became the last province to allow residents to go unmasked to most indoor public places.

In force since July 2020, the masking rule expired at 12:01 a.m., allowing customers of shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and malls, along with elementary and high school students, to wear masks. only if they wish.

However, camouflage remains mandatory on public transport and in healthcare facilities. People who contract COVID-19 will need to wear a mask in public while recovering, and companies can set their own rules in the workplace.

READ MORE: COVID-19 death toll in Canada could be thousands higher than official number: report

Health Minister Christian Dub said on Friday that some Quebecers will continue to disguise themselves in public and their personal choice must be respected.

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“Personally, I think I will continue to wear (a mask) in certain situations when I feel more comfortable,” Dub said. “I will see how things will evolve in the coming weeks, but I think it is just respectful to be able to let people wear it.”

Masking is recommended for vulnerable people, including those with compromised immunity. An association representing people with immune disorders says endangered residents are concerned they have to navigate difficult terrain.

The Quebec Immune Patients Association says that while many people may think society is returning to normal, this is not the case for everyone.

Marc Griffin, a Montreal-based mental health care worker who suffers from an autoimmune disorder, said he felt “left behind”.

“There are a lot of us who would say we are with pins and needles, trying to figure out how to live our lives in a world without masks.”

Griffin said he will spend the next few weeks figuring out how to travel safely to doctor appointments. At a minimum, he said, the province should have kept mandatory camouflage for essential services like grocery stores and pharmacies.

“It’s always a calculated risk and now there’s more calculations, more conversations with my doctors about what they recommend I should do,” Griffin said.

Out of respect for the most vulnerable, the province’s 1,900 pharmacies are asking customers to wear a mask when approaching drug counters. Bertrand Bolduc, president of the Quebec Pharmacists Order, said many clients suffer from a range of diseases and are considered at risk of COVID-19.

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“We will not play police, but we would like people to wear a mask,” Bolduc said in an interview. “Our staff will also continue to wear it.”

Toby Lyle, owner and co-founder of the Burgundy Lion Group, which operates several bars and restaurants in Montreal, said changing the camouflage rules is “definitely a relief”. He said his staff was finding it increasingly difficult to tell customers to wear their masks.

Lyle said staff will be allowed to continue wearing masks if they wish to do so, just like customers.

READ MORE: COVID-19 symptoms persist for many 2 years after infection, study shows

“If people decide to wear a mask, it’s absolutely fine,” Lyle said. “It’s everyone’s personal choice at that point.”

As for restaurants, a representative of the industry association said owners are happy to see another drop dropped after two years dealing with mandatory bookings, capacity rules and vaccine passports.

“We are happy that we should not follow any instructions; we have no restrictions to follow, so it will allow restaurant owners to manage only one restaurant and not manage everything else, ”said spokesman Martin Vezina.

Dr. Andre Veillette, an immunologist at the Clinical Research Institute in Montreal, said he thinks it would have been better to keep the masks in place until COVID-19 readings were lower.

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“It would be nice if we could save a little more until the number of cases is much lower, but I think at the same time, people’s goodwill is becoming scarce and people are fed up with it,” he said. Veillette.


© 2022 The Canadian Press

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